Best Pubs on the Thames (Oxford to Kingston)

The River Thames is one of the UK’s most renowned landmarks, covering 5,500 square miles of Southern England. Though best known for running through the centre of London and under the famous London Bridge, the river stretches 205 miles. Therfore, there is much more to enjoy. 

The Thames is an iconic body of water to travel by small boat. If you plan on taking a houseboating trip, knowing the best pubs on the Thames is essential to enjoy a cold pint and some pub food classics as you travel. After all, it wouldn’t be a English vacation without a Sunday roast or bangers and mash. 

Today, our team of experts present the following guide on popular riverside pubs between Oxford and Kingston Upon Thames. 

Le Boat has two bases on the Thames, in Benson and Chertsey. This part of the Thames is the most peaceful, but you can easily explore the entire stretch of navigable river after picking up your boat, if there are particular sites you wish to see.  

Our expert vacation planning team has put together the following list of the best pubs on the Thames based on the number of reviews and average rating of each location. The best news is: they’re all dog friendly, as are our boats! If you want to bring your pooch on a well-derserved vacayion, read all about our dog friendly vacations

Without further ado, here is our list of the top 10 pubs on the Thames between Oxford and Kingston.  

See all the pubs on a map

The Head of the River, Oxford

The Head of the River (Oxford): a large pub with an old brick building situated on the edge of the river with plenty of seating on the water's edge.

The historic Head of the River pub is a classic combination of pub and inn. The pub is in Oxford, located in St. Aldates area at the Folly Bridge. It boasts a luxurious riverside terrace and a delectable menu packed with British classics.

The Head of the River also has a seasonal menu that rotates throughout the year, taking advantage of what foods are in season. Guests describe the pub's atmosphere as intimate and romantic, regarded by locals as one of the best pubs in Oxford. It is also family-friendly, making it a great place to bring your kids on a family outing. 

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Nag's Head, Abingdon

The Nag's Head pub's in Abingdon. Pub gardens and building in the background, all located on an island in the middle of the Thames.

The Nag’s Head is another lovely pub with stunning river views and an outdoor terrace. The most special part of this pub is that it sits on an island in the middle of the Thames, guaranteeing nothing less than an enchanting experience. It is hard to miss during a river cruise, as the island is by the Abingdon Bridge.  

The Nag’s Head offers live music every Friday night from 8:30-10:30 pm. Guests comment that the atmosphere is friendly and the food is incredible. Their menu is full of classics and has a large list of beverage options.

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The Swan, Pangbourne, Reading

Le Boat - The Swan, Pangbourne

The Swan is one of the best pubs on the Thames for its interesting history, cozy atmosphere, and great food. The Swan is a stunning 17th-century building with a built-in coal bunker you can reserve for private events.

There are three open fireplaces for huddling around on cool autumn or frosty winter evenings. There is also a large outdoor terrace for spring and summer nights to enjoy the tranquil river on a stop over during your trip. 

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The Angel on the Bridge, Henley

The Angle on The Bridge pub in Henley on Thames: the terrace on the rivers edge in front of the white pub building

The Angel on the Bridge is a beautiful historic pub located in Henley-on-Thames. Founded in 1728, making it the oldest pub on the river Thames outside of London. Due to its position on the river and beautiful white facade, this is one of the most painted and photographed buildings on the river.

The Angel on the Bridge has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a buzzing and lively environment, especially during the Henley Regatta (27th June - 2nd July 2023). Despite how busy it can get, guests report consistently exceptional service.

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The Ferry, Cookham, Maidenhead

The bar at the Ferry pub in Cookham, Maidenhead

The Ferry is a centrally located pub in Cookham. It is a stylish pub that serves high-end dishes, brunch, Sunday roast, and pub classics. They also have a children’s menu, so keep it on your radar for a fancy night out with the kids.

The ambience of the Ferry is warm and trendy, and their outdoor seating area is superb. They also have plenty of beers on tap and an extensive wine list. Finally, they offer occasional live music during their popular Beats & Bubbles events, though you’ll want to check ahead to see when these event are happening. 

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The Boatman, Windsor

Le Boat - Best Pubs - The Boatman

The Boatman’s location is just below Windsor Castle, overlooking Eton Bridge. The pub boasts a riverside terrace and an all-weather enclosed patio, so you can dine riverside without the rain. The Boatman sources nearly all its ingredients locally and serves pub classics and creative seasonal menus for all palates.

The Boatman has been serving happy customers in Windsor since 1829. Before the owners named it The Boatman, people knew it as The King’s Head, and locals call it The Donkey House because it was once a donkey stable. It has some of the most incredible waterfront views in the town. 

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The Kingfisher, Chertsey

The terrace of the Kingfisher pub in Chertsey with the white pub building in the background

The Kingfisher offers all the charm of a country pub with the luxury of a riverside venue. This local staple has a garden and cozy interior that is fit for any time of the year, rain or shine.

Located in the town of Chertsey, The Kingfisher boasts several beautiful historical attractions within walking distance, including 18th-century homes, a medieval tower, and a lovely arched bridge that stretches across the Thames.

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The Magpie, Sunbury-on-Thames

Dining room at the Magpie pub in Sunbury on Thames

The Magpie boasts a lovely garden terrace, as well as the ability to moor your boat and head straight into the pub. The dining room also overlooks the river, allowing you to enjoy these tranquil views even during a storm.

The Magpie is a gastropub with an extensive beverage list for those with more refined tastes. Guests report tasty food and large portions.

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The Albany, Thames Ditton

The terrace overlooking the Thames at The Albany pub in Thames Ditton

The Albany is a pleasant pub nestled into the town of Thames Ditton. Here you can find gift shops, independent boutiques, picturesque walks, and an art gallery if you would like to stop over for a day.

The Albany is a high-end pub that serves both British favorites and modern takes on traditional pub food. It has a trendy and beautiful interior for rainy days and a riverside terrace for sunny afternoons.

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The Boaters Inn, Kingston upon Thames

The Boater Inn pub in Kingston features a two-storey building with terraces on each floor by the Thames

The Boaters Inn sports one of the loveliest settings in this list of the best pubs on the Thames, as it's located in the Canbury Gardens and on the riverbank. Every view around this little pub is gorgeous. The Boaters Inn has a riverside beer garden and a stunning sunset balcony for the enjoyment of guests, as well as indoor seating making The Boaters Inn the best pub in Kingston.

Guests report that this is a quieter option for riverside dining in Kingston, offering attentive service in a relaxed atmosphere.

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Map of the best pubs on the Thames (Oxford to Kingston)

FAQs

How many pubs are there on the Thames?

There are approximately 40 pubs on the Thames within the London area from Kingston to Canary Wharf, and around 30 from Oxford to Kingston - calculated from Google maps data.

What is the older pub on the Thames?

The oldest pub on the Thames is the Prospect of Whitby at Wapping. This public house dates back to 1520 and is one of the few with its own Wikipedia page. Outside of London, the oldest pub on the Thames is the Angel on The Bridge, which dates back to 1728.

How long is the River Thames?

The Thames is 215 miles long, starting at the Thames Head in Gloucestershire and ending at the Thames Estuary in Essex.

Ready to book your boating vacation on the Thames?

We hope you found our list of the 10 best pubs on the Thames useful. You can hire any of our boats with no license required, meaning your ideal vacation on the River Thames is much closer than you could ever have imagined.